Since 1991--the year that marked both the fall of the Soviet Union and the centenary of Sergey and birth--a new assessment of the renowned composer's life and work has become both possible and necessary. In this engrossing book, David Nice draws on a remarkable range of previously unexamined sources to present that reassessment.
The book follows Prokofiev's personal and musical progression from his childhood on a Ukrainian country estate to the years he spent traveling in America and Europe as an acclaimed interpreter of his own works. Nice sheds new light on Prokofiev's early years at the St. Petersburg Conservatoire, his departure from Russia in 1918 for what he thought would be a short tour of America, and his marriage and family relationships. He considers the music of Prokofiev's years in the west (long dismissed by Soviet musicologists as decadent work weakened by the composer's absence from the motherland), moving from the lyricism of his St. Petersburg years to the fresh simplicity of his early Soviet scores. Nice also examines the complex reasons which led Prokofiev to move his family to the Soviet Union in 1936. A second volume will cover Prokofiev's life from this period to his death in 1952.